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Friday, December 28, 2012

Comic Reviews 12/29/12


The comics reviewed are chosen by David not by THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT management
or staff. The opinions expressed are his alone. If you have an opposing view you
are welcome to respond to David directly by Email at the address above.

Issue Number: 15
Title Story: The Burden of God
Publisher: DC
Creator: William Moulton Marston
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Cliff Chang
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I have not been reading WONDER WOMAN since the restart so I figured I would jump
in on the latest issue seeing how the cover indicates the New Gods, or at least
Orion, are featured. Unfortunately this is not an easy comic to start in mid
story. In one group at an apartment in a city we have Wonder Woman, her brother
Lennox, the goddess Hera and another younger woman named Zola who apparently at
some point slept with Zeus and had a child that was taken away from her. If I
understand the references right that would make the baby Diana's sibling as
well. The plot in this episode is all about finding things. Diana and Lennox are
going out to find their brother Milan who wanders the city as a homeless person
and shelters in abandoned subway tunnels. Along the way she finds Hephaestus who
made her wristbands. He takes the opportunity to "tweak" them a little and that
will come in real handy later. Orion has already found Milan but is looking for
someone else, perhaps the lost baby. Hera and Zola call a temporary truce to
their squabbling and decide to look for something to do out on the town against
Diana's wishes. Finally, at the end of the issue, we look in on yet another god
in Antarctica who is looking for his garments that are keys to his power buried
deep in the ice. Most of the bits and pieces I get but as far as the continuing
story and how they all fit into it that remains fuzzy. A nice paragraph up front
would really help clarify what has happened before all this. Why is Orion
involved at all for example? A new reader would have a lot of questions about it
all. This is an editorial decision so I don't blame Azzarello. His scripting and
story are fine as we join them at this point. The art is very good too, starting
with the nifty cover shot that is Wonder Woman charging forward in a reflection
in Orion's helmet. So I give this a qualified recommendation. If you want to get
into it start much earlier in the story.

Issue Number: One Shot (previously serialized in DARK HORSE PRESENTS 2-5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creators: Sanford Greene & Chuck Brown
Writer: Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colors: Tyson Hesse w/Sanford Greene
Letters: Steve Outro
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This one shot collects the story told in previous issues of DARK HORSE PRESENTS.
It is a future world, a post apocalypse era that has zombies around though they
are not totally ruthless as in popular fiction these days. They talk and
interact a bit with humans as well. The central character is a human female
mercenary called San Gee. She is recruited by one religious faction called the
Enganites to find a certain artifact before their rivals, the Monks of Enga,
can. The two have been warring for thousands of years. Now the leader of the
Enganites, The Anointed Enigma, wants her to find the Bleeding Rock, a stone
that is supposed to bring ultimate truth and enlightenment. It seems the Zombie
who introduced San Gee to the Enganite has an innate ability to find the stone,
which is located somewhere in Africa. The Monks of Enga have their own band of
mercenaries who at first glance seem quite comical and are referred to as Suits.
The five all were dark suits and wear animal head and other masks of different
types. One wears a Frankenstein mask.  So san Gee and her zombie friend head off
to Africa without knowing the Suits are tracking them. The other key element of
the story is the fact that San Gee has an inborn power that manifests itself in
enhanced abilities when she focuses but can become a destructive force if she
loses control of her emotions. Most of the story involves the quest and some
fight scenes among the two groups and others along the way. The crux of the plot
revolves around what the stone really is and how it will be used if returned to
the Anointed Enigma. So the basic plot is logical and does have a good
conclusion. What drives the story are the characters and the subtle humor that
flows throughout the issue. The art is very stylish and relies on bright
coloring and good panel transitions. It is not great science fiction but it is
entertaining. If you do not read DHP then you might want to check it out.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Ham Fisher
Story: Joe Antonacci, Matt Triano & Mike Bullock
Writers: Mike Bullock
Artist: Fernando Peniche
Colors: Bob Pedroza
Letters: Josh Aitken
Cover Artist: ?
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure - Martial Arts

Joe Palooka is a comic strip character that has been around since 1921 rising to
the height of his popularity in the 30's and 40's until it was one of the top
five strips of its day. He has been the subject of films and comic books over
the years as well. Now IDW has introduced a modern day version in this new
series. Bringing things up to date means that Joe, whose real name is Nick
Davis, is not just a prizefighter but is a contender for the California light
heavyweight championship in mixed martial arts. He is a rising star who is
helping his sister financially. But in this opening issue his world is about to
be turned upside down. While at the bank after his latest victory two armed
masked men attempt a robbery. As things start to get tense one of the robbers
begins beating the elderly bank guard. Unable to stand by and watch Davis
struggles with the robber who fires wildly killing the old man. The other robber
tries to shoot Davis but hits his partner instead and Davis returns fire with
the first robber's gun ending the conflict. Instead of waiting for the police
Davis panics and flees. Later standing in the gathering crowd outside he
realizes he handled the gun that killed the old man and could be blamed for the
death. He knows, and as his girlfriend points out, innocent men are often
convicted on corrupted evidence. So he makes the agonizing decision to flee the
country. His travels will take him to Mexico and then Panama where he will find
work aboard a freighter headed for Europe. It is while in Mexico that he decides
to enter a local cage fight competition to earn some cash. It is there he will
pick up the alias, Joe Palooka. This is a good enough start as any to begin the
story. The writers have chosen to make our hero a man on the run rather than a
good-natured boxer who is helping others openly. Naturally there will be an
element of law enforcement trying to find him as the story moves forward. I
wonder how easy it will be to stay under the radar when the greatest of his
talents are used in a very public arena. The art is decent enough to carry the
story. This is not something I am excited about but it is a good change of pace
from normal comic book fare.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Palace
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Robert Atkins
Inkers: Scott Elmer & Andy Owens
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Mico Suayan & Antonio Fabela
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mystery

I am a fan of the CASTLE TV series so I decided to try out this comic. Seeing
that it is written by Peter David also swayed me to see what it was all about.
First of all it is not about Richard Castle and the other characters in the
show. Rather it is about a fictional character created by Castle - a detective
called Derrick Storm. To further confuse things Storm sold his agency to a real
life detective Jake Palace who became so popular after thwarting a presidential
assassination that there are books and a TV series about his life and he is a
millionaire detective to the elite. The buyout of Storm's agency made Derrick a
very rich man. The main supporting character in this tale is his father who does
not approve of his son's new lifestyle or how he got it. Derrick now lives on a
rather large boat and as the story begins is recovering from a long night of
partying. He has been preparing to set sail for a while to enjoy his life. He is
considering asking his dad to join him - to reconnect. Those plans may have to
be put on hold when he discovers a bag floating next to his boat. He opens it to
find a severed head with a swastika branded on one cheek. As the story unfolds
we are introduced to a female CIA agent Derrick has worked with in the past. It
turns out the victim is a Russian attach‚ so she is taking over the case. The
surprise to the story comes when Derrick's father shows up and makes a startling
revelation about the case. So, on the one hand it was disappointing that this
was not an adaptation of the TV show. I imagine more than a few readers will
find that fact off-putting if they buy the comic thinking that. On the other
hand it is a detective story written by Peter David and that makes it worth the
money. The scripting is up to his usual fine form and the art is better than
most comics. The filler about Jake Palace at the beginning seems a waste of a
page but the fact that the story title is "Palace" suggests that the new owner
of Derrick's agency may have more to do with the plot later. Regardless, it is a
well-executed issue and an entertaining story worth your time.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Creator: Adapted from the screenplay by Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Artist: R.M. Guera - Flashback Sequences by Jason Latour
Colors: Giulia Brusco
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Variant Cover Artists: Jim Lee w/Alex Sinclair
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Western

You will note this adapted from a screenplay not the finished movie currently
showing. As Tarantino explains in the Foreword the scripts to his movies are
always too large and he ends up dropping scenes and characters to make things
conform to a proper length movie. That is not the case with this comic. It is
based on the original screenplay before it was cut down to size. Basically you
will be getting the whole story here - more than in the movie. There is also
some controversy in the media about the frequent use of the "N" word in the
movie. It is also used a lot in the comic but I did not find it out of context
or gratuitous at all. This is the story about a slave named Django. As the story
begins he is one of a half dozen odd slaves being led on foot to their next home
having recently been sold at auction. As they are making their way with their
two masters one early evening they are approached by a man on horseback, Dr.
King Schultz. He is looking for a slave that came from a particular plantation
and one of the seven, Django, is that man. After he "purchases" Django in a
rather unorthodox manner the two set off for a nearby town. It is here that
Schultz explains his plan. The doctor is in fact a bounty hunter and he is
seeking the three brothers that used to work at the plantation where Django was
enslaved. Since he does not know what they look like he needs to have Django
accompany him to the places they may now be working and point them out. His
promise to Django is that once the three are killed or captured he will be paid
handsomely and given a horse, a new suit of clothes, a saddle and his freedom.
Django agrees for he has his own reasons for finding the Brittle brothers. This
first chapter has a lot in it beyond what I have mentioned. The script gives us
a lot of information and fleshes out the characters. In a short time Django
learns some of the pleasures of freedom, even when they go against accepted
behavior in Texas towns of the time. The doctor proves to be a resourceful man
with a few tricks up his sleeve at just the right time. In one main scene you
think he is being foolishly reckless but his actions prove to be part of the
plan. Artist R.M. Guera of SCALPED fame does an excellent job. The characters
are purposely not drawn to resemble Jamie Fox or Leonardo Dicaprio but have
their own unique look for the comic. This is a fun comic for fans of westerns,
Tarantino and comic book fans in general. I recommend it.

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Title Story: The Big Dirt Nap
Publisher: DC
Writer: B. Clay Moore
Artist: Tony Harris
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Wes Abbott
Cover Artist: Tony Harris
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is probably my least favorite comic of the bunch reviewed this week. On the
plus side I think Tony Harris does a great job on the art as he usually does.
McCaig's colors are somewhat muted for my taste. Perhaps because the story is
set in the 40's he is going for something that looks older but it doesn't really
work except in some flashback sequences. Overall it is not bad. Harris, it seems
to me, is mimicking Richard Geary in both layouts and characterization. It is a
really interesting thing to see. On the other hand I am not a big fan of super
hero comics set in WWII conflicts. The main character, The Whistling Skull, and
others are creator-owned characters mixed in here and there with the JSA of the
day. But it is mostly the title character and his sidekick Knuckles that are the
focus of the main story. They are in Switzerland in 1940 traveling in what can
be called a battlewagon but looks like the engine of a diesel locomotive -
certainly not the most clandestine mode of transportation. They are going to a
small town to meet another man of mystery who is their local contact. Johannes
has asked them to come to investigate a number of disappearances among the
town's folk. There is also a traveling circus in town that has been there since
about the time people began going missing, which raises our suspicions. So that
is the set up of the plot. There are some flashback scenes to earlier wartime
escapades and to our two main heroes in their youth. It all fits well for the
story being told. But for me this is not moving fast enough for my tastes. I do
not find the Skull and his companion all that interesting as main characters
though the thick of the plot is only getting started in the last few pages. It
could turn into something more compelling moving forward but I am not sure it is
worth waiting. Your opinion may vary.


If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at and you could win the prize. The first six
correct answers will be assigned a number and a roll of the dice will determine
the winner. You should put your real name in your message so we know who you
are. Prizes must be claimed at our store within 30 days of winning. The prize
will be a $10 credit slip, which will be redeemable for merchandise at regular
retail or in-store ongoing specials only.  Only one prize per person will be
allowed per every 4 weeks. I will be the sole judge of the correct answer even
if more than one answer could be correct. Submit only one answer per Email
please but guess as often as you like.

Last week's trivia question:

Agent 99 is to Maxwell Smart, as Agent 13 is to. ?

Captain America!  You may have said Sharon Carter, thinking 99 WAS Smart (his
number was 86) or Nick Fury getting the idea, but the wrong relation, (The Chief
equates better to Fury not Max). The winner by the dice roll is Stan Hosmer.

Eclipse published a prestige series, which adapted a novel that has been made
into at least 3 movies - one starring Vincent Price and another Charlton Heston. 
Name the Eclipse series.

Folks, you never know who among the readers is knowledgeable about the question
so don't hesitate to send in an answer - even days after it appears.

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